Monday, July 27, 2009

Beer Tasting Dinner Part Two

The next two courses in the dinner are far less interesting, so I'll only talk about them briefly. Course five is a great standby that I make fairly often.

Third Course: Baked Goat cheese salads with pignolas and cherries with a Kreik vinaigrette Served with: Kreik Boon and Lindenman’s Kreik

I really like making this basic salad, using the recipe from Cook's Illustrated. Of course, I can never find the Melba toasts when I want them, so I use those mini-toasts from Trader Joe's. As always, they came out creamy and delicious, and the vinaigrette actually worked. Of course, it would have helped if I had written down the recipe. Sigh. The pairing? Kriek Boon is a lovely example of a Lambic. Somewhat tart, with a true cherry flavor mingling with the malt and hops. Taking a sip of the Lindeman's, we were reminded how much like a wine cooler this stuff really is. I hate to admit it, but I used to like the stuff. Now I know much better.

Simplified Baked Goat Cheese
For Appetizers or Salads

Serves 4 or more (depending on application)

1 small log garlic and herb goat cheese
1 egg
1 cup crushed mini toasts (fairly large crumb)

1. Put crumbs in a shallow dish, and beat egg into another shallow dish.
2. For salads, divide the cheese into four portions, and roll into balls, then flatten slightly. For an appetizer, skip this step.
3. Roll the cheese, then the egg, making sure to cover in crumbs completely.
4. Put the coated cheese in the freezer for 15 minutes (this is the IMPORTANT Cook's Illustrated step. Skip this and you've got ooze.)
5. heat your oven to 475F. When it is ready, cover a baking sheet with foil, oil the foil lightly, then place your cheese on the foil. Bake in heated oven for about 8-10 minutes for salad size, 10-12 for the whole log.

Fourth Course: Creole Turtle Soup Served with: Bernie’s Molasses Porter (homebrew) and Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine (commercial)

I'm not bothering with the photo for this one. For those of you who love turtle soup, more power to you. All I can say about this is thank goodness this was in small portions. Better yet we discovered the dog loves turtle. Therefore, he got to enjoy turtle.

The beers were chosen through recommendations on a brewing forum. we didn't eat the soup, so I cannot comment on the pairing. The porter is one of my favorites and I'm hoping TheTooth makes it again soon. Rich, only slightly sweet, and roasty as all get out. The barleywine really needed more time to rest and mellow out. It was young and sharp, and really darned hoppy. We should have tried another beer and left this to rest for a couple of years. Live and learn.

Fifth Course: Pan Seared Rib Eye with steamed vegetables and sour cream chive mashed potatoes; Brown Ale BĂ©arnaise Served with: Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale

Forgive the photo. I know it's a bit blurry, but I had been tasting all those beers... My favorite way to cook a steak, courtesy of the always-on-target Alton Brown (with modifications of course):

Serves 2-4, depending on what else is on the menu.

1 Delmonico or rib-eye steak, between 1.3 and 1.8 lbs. (It should be a good 1 1/2 inches thick, preferably 2 inches)
1 Tablespoon Hawaiian red sea salt
1 teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder
1/2 Tablespoon fresh ground pepper
Grape seed oil

1. You need a big ol' cast iron skillet for this. Go get one if you don't have one. It will become your best friend in the kitchen.

2. Put the skillet in the oven, and turn it up as hot as it will go, hopefully about 500F.

3. Take the steak out of the fridge and season it liberally with the salt, garlic and onion powders, and pepper. Drizzle it with grape seed oil. Let the chill come off the steak while the oven comes to temperature.

4. Once the oven has reached it's hottest point, do nothing for a good five minutes. This will allow the pan to get good and hot.

5. When you're ready, grab a good timer and some heavy oven mitts. Turn your closest burner on high, then get the pan out of the oven. USE THE MITTS. Trust me on this one, OK? I came close to grabbing the pan once and still burned myself without ever touching it. Put the pan on the burner, then immediately put the steak in. Leave it for 40 seconds, then flip and leave it another 40 seconds.

6. Put the pan back in the oven, and leave it for 3:30. Flip the steak again, and cook it another 3:30. Pull it out and rest, covered with foil for 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy.

The pairing: Brown ale is one of our favorites, and this did not disappoint. While I normally prefer a nice juicy tannic red wine to cut through the richness of the steak, this beer did quite nicely. There was a bit of fruit in it, and a bit of an acidic tang that cut through the meat well. We had run out of TheTooth's brown the day before so I couldn't do a double pairing here. Bummer.

Next time: Dessert!

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